Minutes of Historical Advisory Committee Meeting, November 1963

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Source: Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian, Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation Files, 1957-1990 (Lot File 96 D 292), Box 2, 1963—Minutes. Limited Official Use.

Cited in Toward “Thorough, Accurate, and Reliable”: A History of the Foreign Relations of the United States Series, Chapter 8, Footnote 48

Minutes of the 1963 Meeting of the Advisory Committee on Foreign Relations of the United States

The morning session on Friday, November 1, began at approximately 9:45 a.m.


  • The Advisory Committee:
    • Clarence A. Berdahl, Chairman
    • William W. Bishop, Jr.*
    • Robert H. Ferrell*
    • Richard W. Leopold
    • Robert E. Osgood*
    • Robert R. Wilson
    • Fred H. Harrington was unable to be present
  • Officers of the Historical Office:
    • William M. Franklin, Director
    • Richardson Dougall
    • E. R. Perkins
    • S. Everett Gleason
    • Rogers P. Churchill
    • Newton O. Sappington
    • Fredrick Aandahl
    • John G. Reid
    • Alston R. Wright
    • Ralph R. Goodwin
    • Velma H. Cassidy
    • Herbert A. Fine
    • George Kent
    • William Slany
    • John P. Glennon

AGENDA ITEM 2: Opening remarks

Mr. Franklin welcomed the Committee members and expressed his appreciation and gratitude for their work and efforts on behalf of Foreign Relations. He noted that the group exerted considerable influence on the Department of State and in the scholarly community and had been of great help in solving the problems of Foreign Relations or at least lending sympathetic assistance. Mr. Franklin recalled that the Committee, during the first years of its life, had acted primarily as a kind of “watch-dog” group. In more recent years, however, the Committee had interested itself increasingly in the procedures under which Foreign Relations is compiled. In 1962, Mr. Franklin noted, the Committee had considered the goals of the series -- particularly the twenty-year goal. He concluded that the present agenda had been drawn up to stress the procedures of producing Foreign Relations, especially recent procedural innovations, so that the series might at least remain within sight of the twenty-year goal.

AGENDA ITEM 3: Report on status of the series and publication plans

Mr. Aandahl gave a brief explanation of the table giving the status of the volumes in the series (the table had been included as an appendix to the agenda).

Mr. Franklin outlined an ambitious publication program, predicting that five volumes would be issued in fiscal year 1964 (one has already been released) and ten volumes in fiscal year 1965. He noted that 1941, volume VI, was still a laggard; that 1942 was completely published; and that henceforth, Foreign Relations would be released in chronological sequence, including the China volumes. HO had given up the idea of any mass release of the China volumes and even anticipated a continuing struggle with FE on the release of individual volumes. Mr, Franklin felt that the China volume for 1944 might not be the first volume published for 1944 (in view of FE’s reaction to the publication of China 1943 as the first among the 1943 volumes) but it could be released perhaps as the second volume of 1944.

AGENDA ITEM 4: Efforts to expedite output (budget estimates, target dates, editorial procedures, and clearances)

Mr. Dougall gave a report on budget estimates and target dates for Foreign Relations volumes during the next two fiscal years. He explained the method of paying printing and binding charges--one-half the cost of a volume is committed at the time it is sent to the Government Printing Office to be put into galleys, the second half being committed when a volume is sent to GPO for page proof. Although Congress has not appropriated the Department’s funds for the current fiscal year, HO, with the support of the Bureau of Public Affairs (P area), is aiming for a printing and binding target of $104,000 in fiscal year 1965. This program, which doubled our present allotment, has received the approval of Department budgetary officers and of the Bureau of the Budget.

Mr. Franklin explained that the 1965 estimates provided for no increase in the staff, the higher targets for publication to be achieved by accelerated procedures. By way of background, he pointed out that printing and binding money had been lavishly provided in 1953 but that it had been reduced in later years to a point just sufficient to cover our output. This was why our request for $104,000 startled the budget authorities, who asked whether we would actually use this amount. We replied that we could. If we are able to fill the bill, we will be in good shape for future budget requests; otherwise, we will be in difficulty.

Mr. Leopold and Mr. Osgood queried whether a dramatically large increase in the number of volumes to be published would raise any questions in the Department. Mr. Franklin said that the Department would not question the rate of release so long as the total number of volumes covering the events of a year was held within reasonable limits.

Mr. Dougall, referring to the second chart attached to the agenda, explained the necessity of getting manuscript to the Division of Publishing Services (PB) early enough in a fiscal year so that sufficient time would be available to complete preliminary editing and to send sufficient material to GPO to permit obligating of funds before the end of that fiscal year. He noted that all the regular volumes for 1945 would be in the hands of PB this month. The Arcadia Conference was already there and the Second and Third Washington and the Casablanca Conferences would be sent by April 1964. The manuscript for 1946 has not been specifically scheduled, but three volumes would be ready to go to PB by December 1964. Stage two of fund obligation would depend in part on the size of the PB staff, the “cutting of corners” by PB, and the clearance question. Mr. Franklin noted that in the past it had not been of special importance whether a volume was released in one fiscal year or in the next. The introduction of the concept of the twenty-year line as a firm goal had forced us to stake out a specific publication program for each fiscal year.

Mr. Perkins informed the Committee that the abnormally large number of volumes (12) for 1945 paralleled that of the period after World War I when there were sixteen volumes for 1919. He stated that the end of the war and the problems produced thereby would make 1945 a peak year. He predicted that the total number of volumes for 1946 would decline because of the absence of separate Conference volumes but felt that the number of regular volumes would remain as high as before.

Mr. Franklin reminded the Committee of the many postwar international conferences which would have to be documented in Foreign Relations. He noted that the Committee last year had agreed that about ten volumes per year should be the maximum and he asked the new members to comment on this. Mr. Leopold suggested that the new members might also express their views on the adequacy of the number of volumes for the 1940-41 period, for example.

Mr. Ferrell commented that it appeared to him to be overly fulsome coverage to devote more than 40 pages to the seizure of I.T.&T. properties by the Spanish Government in 1940. Mr. Osgood agreed to the need for greater selectivity in future volumes. He felt if there were too many volumes, their utility to scholars and government administrators would be diluted. Mr. Bishop inquired whether the Whiteman Digest was being coordinated with Foreign Relations to prevent duplication of coverage and to assure that one would cover what the other did not treat. Mr. Perkins stated that the preparation of the two series had not been coordinated. He suggested that this approach might not be very fruitful because the Digest was interested in legal matters while Foreign Relations stressed diplomatic subjects. Mr. Bishop suggested that footnote cross references in the two series would be valuable. He also noted that the Digest could take a great deal of pressure off Foreign Relations in connection with such matters as protection of interests.

In this connection, Mr. Berdahl noted that matters pertaining to international law had been generally assigned third priority in the 1946 plan and questioned whether scholars in this field would be satisfied with such treatment. He suggested that Mr. Bishop’s approach to this in the Digest with Foreign Relations might provide a good “way out”.

Mr. Franklin stated that of course the Digest would be among the Departmental publications cited by Foreign Relations, as would the Current Documents, in an effort to avoid duplication.

Mr. Berdahl observed that Mr. Manning and Mr. Harrington, at the 1962 meeting of the Advisory Committee, had suggested that the Committee might press for ten volumes as a reasonable figure (see 1962 Minutes, pp. 4, 7). Mr. Osgood agreed that ten volumes would be a good limit. Mr. Leopold, commenting in like vein on the Committee’s attitude to the problem last year, observed that the Minutes of last year’s meeting were excellent and that in view of the brevity of the Committee’s written report, the Minutes served as a record of the Committee’s views.

After a brief intermission, the Committee resumed its sessions at 11 a.m. Mr. Berdahl drew attention to the excellent article by Mr. Leopold on the Foreign Relations series on the occasion of the Centennial of the series.

Mr. Franklin introduced Arthur Marmor, Assistant Chief of PB, who commented on the problems of his office and its efforts to accelerate the preparation of manuscript along the lines set forth in Mr. Franklin’s memorandum of September 24, 1963, to PB. Mr. Marmor was confident that the procedures proposed in the memorandum would speed up technical editing without impairing the basic quality of the product. Mr. Franklin underscored the vital character of PB’s contribution to the acceleration of our program, pointing out that a bottleneck anywhere in the pipeline would stall our efforts. He noted that in cutting corners we were taking a calculated risk, but he felt confident that the program would be the gainer for it.

Mr. Franklin noted that PB would still have a tremendous job of proofreading, indexing, and preparing the manuscript for the galley stage. He pointed out that the shortage of personnel trained for this work was a real problem. Mr. Marmor stated that PB would be training more personnel for these responsibilities as they would be released from various qualitative aspects of their present work. He noted also the difficult replacement problem posed by the expected retirement of several highly trained members of the staff in a few years. Mr. Franklin took the opportunity to commend the exceptionally able editing work performed by PB. Mr. Perkins, Mr. Berdahl, and Mr. Leopold echoed these sentiments.

In response to a query from Mr. Ferrell as to how long it took to prepare an index, Mr. Marmor stated he had no figures. Mr. Dougall volunteered the information that the indexing of the Potsdam volumes had required more than six months each. The process had been speeded up by outside contracting of the index for the Yalta volume, which had taken only three or four weeks. HO and PB, however, had taken at least an additional week to work on that index. Mr. Franklin warned that indexing might be the largest single bottleneck in the whole editing process and asked the Committee whether it would be willing to accept a cutting of corners in this field. He noted that the indexing of substantive relations was not as well handled in the Yalta volume as in the annual volumes. Mr. Goodwin observed that 1941, volume III, had been contracted out for indexing and that the product was so inferior that he had spent weeks revising the work, especially where political relationships were involved. Mr. Franklin also mentioned that the index of the Cairo-Tehran volume had been contracted out, but had needed revision.

Mr. Leopold inquired about the possibility of simplifying the complicated subject-person index. Mr. Franklin replied that for years Foreign Relations had been indexed on a subject basis. In recent years, names had been added, making for a more complicated index. Mr. Ferrell raised for discussion purposes the question of dropping indices in the annual volumes. Mr. Perkins observed that reviewers had not objected to the absence of indices in the German Documents and the British Documents. Mr. Franklin explained that the German Documents were not indexed because of a lack of funds but that an index volume might be done by the Germans. Mr. Wilson remarked that omitting indices or using indices of poor quality would be false economy.

Mr. Franklin then turned to the question of clearance. He said that Assistant Secretary of State Manning’s memorandum of January 17, 1963, regarding acceleration of clearance had a favorable reaction from Assistant Secretaries and Deputy Assistant Secretaries but that these sentiments had not trickled down to the reviewing desks. He stated that the Public Affairs Officers, our liaisons with the bureaus on clearance matters, were “caught in the switches”. In principle they tended to agree with HO on clearance matters, for they were in the business of getting information out to the public as quickly and completely as possible; yet they were in the policy bureaus. At this point, Mr. Franklin handed to the Committee a draft of a memorandum, already approved in principle by Mr. Manning and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Lisle, which was a follow-up of Mr. Manning’s memorandum of January 17 and would, if approved, be attached to galleys sent for clearance in order to supply guide lines to the Public Affairs Officers and to those actually clearing the galleys.

Mr. Leopold inquired as to the effectiveness of the three-month limitation in Mr. Manning’s memorandum. Mr. Franklin asserted that many galleys had not been completed within three months.

Mr. Perkins pointed out that the longevity of certain world leaders complicated clearance but that obviously invidious references to persons were excised by the Foreign Relations staff. He noted the danger that exclusion of all unfavorable references to living leaders might distort the record. Mr. Franklin observed that careful deletion of invidious phrases by the staff might speed up clearance as desk officers would become more confident of HO judgment on such matters.

Mr. Osgood inquired as to the available evidence that the publication of Foreign Relations actually affected our foreign relations. Mr. Perkins was able to remember two examples of invidious phrases, which created tempests in teapots. Neither had resulted in official protests by the governments concerned. Mr. Franklin concurred that no Foreign Relations volume had had any great impact on current relations with any foreign country.

Mr. Perkins noted that foreign clearance was not a difficult matter, although sometimes it was protracted. Our real clearance problems lay within the Department. Mr. Churchill observed he had already pointed out to reluctant desk officers that deleting certain words or sentences and replacing them with dots might prove more troublesome than relatively harmless remarks of no great import. Mr. Perkins also felt that we might incur charges of censorship as a result of the need for greater compressing of the record.

Mr. Franklin indicated that we have used unofficial publications of authoritative stature - such as the works of de Gaulle and Churchill in our clearance difficulties. Our ability to do so would taper off after 1945 as the period of war memoirs came to an end.

Mr. Osgood asked where final authority resided in regard to clearance. Mr. Franklin observed that deadlocks with desk officers are referred upward to the Assistant Secretary level and even higher if necessary. We get more support at the higher levels but we cannot go to such levels in every case. We often prefer to reserve our position until a given desk officer changes and we have often had clearance quite readily from a successor occupant of the desk.

Mr. Franklin requested the Committee’s suggestions for strengthening the memorandum to be sent to the bureaus along with our galleys. He pointed out the risk that if the bureaus were finessed out of their original review by the three-month proviso, they might hold up publication of the volumes when they reached the bound stage. He proposed to discuss the draft memorandum with the Public Affairs Officers when they attended the Committee sessions this afternoon if the Committee felt such a memorandum had merit. Mr. Manning and Mr. Lisle, he pointed out, thought the idea was a good one but they did not anticipate that the effects would be miraculous.

Mr. Wilson and Mr. Bishop supported the draft memorandum but suggested the possibility of sending a reminder to the bureaus before the end of the ninety-day period. Mr. Berdahl thought the paper should stand as it was. Mr. Osgood suggested that it would be useful to incorporate a ringing declaration on the value of the series rather than to weight the memorandum so heavily on the budgetary angle. He also thought a new statement from Mr. Rusk would be extremely valuable. Mr. Berdahl suggested the Kennedy letter of September 6, 1961, might swing even more weight.

Mr. Franklin pointed out some of the weaknesses in our ability to exploit the President’s letter. It was known that neither Mr. Rusk nor the Under Secretary had cleared it; and the fifteen-year period mentioned in the letter was already outmoded.

Mr. Berdahl asserted he wanted same eloquent words added to the memorandum. Mr. Osgood wondered whether the Committee should send another letter to the Secretary of State but Mr. Franklin felt we could not be sending letters to the Secretary as an annual procedure.

Mr. Wilson expressed his anxiety that a desk which had failed to give clearance to the galleys because of the three-month limitation might put a volume on the shelf just prior to scheduled publication. Mr. Franklin acknowledged that this risk existed. He reviewed the procedures for preparing the release of a volume, crowned by preparation of a press release, the final stage at which a bureau might object to publication. He noted that the press releases were becoming more and more bland.

At this point the meeting was adjourned for lunch.

The Committee reassembled at 2:30 p.m. after having lunched with Under Secretary of State Ball. Mr. Manning, Mr. Franklin and Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., also attended the luncheon. Mr. Berdahl and Mr. Franklin reported briefly on the sympathetic reception accorded to the Committee by Mr. Ball. The Under Secretary was well aware of the Foreign Relations series and of the job the Committee was doing and even expressed a positive willingness to participate in the clearance problems. He also gave indication of some sympathy toward granting an exception for filling a vacancy in the staff, but Mr. Franklin cautioned the Committee against optimism in this respect.

AGENDA ITEM 5: Publicity and access to the files:

Mr. Franklin explained the new procedures concerning access to State Department files, i.e., that access was now tied to the release of the Foreign Relations volumes. Thus the files were completely open through 1932 and open on a restricted basis through 1942. He expressed the hope that those interested in access to the files would now have additional incentive to support our publication program.

Mr. Leopold asked whether release of the first or last volume for any year would determine the opening of the files. Mr. E. Taylor Parks, who had joined the afternoon session of the Committee, explained that the new regulations had not spelled out this matter and that HO would “play it by ear” until it acquired further experience. He stated that the new procedures had already been quietly put into effect. For instance, a researcher who had been given access to 1941 files has automatically been given access to 1942 files. In response to a query from the Committee, Mr. Franklin said that the Department had made no public statement on the new access procedures and that he would take steps to place an announcement in the Bulletin and other Department publications. Mr. Ferrell also suggested that a notice be placed in scholarly journals.

Mr. Parks noted that we favor a government-wide system in connection with clearance of applicants for access beyond the open period of the files but not much has been done in this field. He observed that the Department of the Army had taken the lead in getting its system of fingerprinting researchers applied to the rest of the Defense Department as a first step to obtaining a government-wide system. Mr. Parks thought we might be unable to resist the pressure for fingerprinting.

Mr. Parks asserted that the average time spent in Washington by researchers in Department files had declined markedly. He attributed this to the high cost of living away from home and suggested that a foundation might be made interested in providing subsidies.

At about 3 p.m., Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Raymond E. Lisle and three Public Affairs Officers (Leonard R. Greenup of ARA, John A. Billings of NEA, and Milan W. Jerabek of EUR) joined the Committee sessions.

Mr. Franklin commented on the lack of adequate press coverage of Foreign Relations volumes in the American press. He contrasted this with the coverage given by the foreign press whose agencies in the United States assiduously follow the release of the volumes in order to emphasize certain segments of the volumes felt to be of special interest to their readers. He noted that the scholarly journals reviewed the volumes, but only after a long time lag. The New York Times Sunday Book Review Section and similar sections in the domestic press did not give the volumes any coverage. Mr. Franklin thought the Committee might be helpful in getting greater press coverage of the volumes.

Mr. Osgood asked why Mr. Franklin thought it desirable to get greater press coverage in the weekend papers and whom he was seeking to reach in this way. Mr. Franklin stated he was trying to reach the intelligent non-specialist, the New York Times reader, for example. Mr. Osgood agreed that there was a body of intelligent readers beyond the scholarly fraternity and it was worthwhile to find them. Mr. Leopold took a dim view of the need to get greater domestic press coverage. He observed that newspaper reports might be distorted to achieve news value on current matters rather than emphasizing the objective and historical values of the volumes. Mr. Ferrell suggested that we abandon the handing of paper-back copies of Foreign Relations to reporters in view of limited press coverage. Rather, Foreign Relations should be aimed with greater intensity at the scholarly journals. Mr. Ferrell and Mr. Osgood admitted regretfully that the series was not even well enough known by the scholarly profession.

Mr. Franklin noted that the recently released 1943, volume I, had a fine section on the Moscow Conference and showed Secretary Hull at “his finest hour.” Every volume, he felt, had materials that would interest literate people beyond just the scholarly community. He regretted we had found no way of communicating with them. During the past eight to ten years, press coverage of the volumes had shrunk. He associated this with the increasing blandness of the press releases but HO was afraid to say much in the press releases for fear of stirring sensitive issues.

Mr. Billings gave a brief summary of the difficulty which had recently arisen over a story in the Israeli press based on 1943, volume I, which suggested that American military authorities had opposed the evacuation of Jews from German-occupied Europe. The record showed that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had opposed the setting up of a temporary camp for refugees in North Africa because of shipping problems and for other military reasons. The press report gave the remarks out of context, not mentioning that the Joint Chiefs had been overruled by the President and the camp established. Mr. Billings concluded that better domestic press coverage of Foreign Relations might have prevented the incident from happening or made it easier to refute. A telegram correcting the story has been sent to Tel Aviv. Mr. Franklin suggested that incidents of this kind would tend to hinder clearance by making desk officers more cautious. He pointed out that if Foreign Relations received more publicity, the public would realize that the series is a continuing historical project and this would help to eliminate sensational treatment of special subjects and queries as to why volumes were being released at a particular time.

Mr. Lisle suggested that the press releases issued at the time of publication might point out certain non-controversial subjects of interest as a guide to the reporters. He also suggested the possibility of informally briefing the reporters when the paper-backs were handed to them.

Mr. Ferrell returned to his suggestion to abandon giving volumes to newsmen, but to concentrate instead on learned journals where reviews were more important and yet were all too sporadic.

AGENDA ITEM 6: Report on clearance problems, 1943 and 1944:

Mr. Sappington stated he was encouraged by the pace of clearance since the Manning memorandum in connection with 1944, volume III. He noted that four of six geographic desks had replied within the three-month deadline and that none of them had requested any deletions. He also noted with pleasure that nine of the thirteen foreign governments had replied favorably and only one unfavorably. Mr. Franklin thanked the Public Affairs Officers for their help but noted that no volume could progress more rapidly than its slowest component.

Mr. Churchill’s experience since the Manning memorandum was not as satisfactory as Mr. Sappington’s. He reported that although replies were coming in faster than before the Manning memorandum, his galleys had been out over five months and returns were still incomplete. He felt, therefore, that the memorandum had been helpful but had not solved the clearance problem. He also felt that there were now fewer objections among the replies and that these had been settled more easily.

Mr. Franklin stressed that rapid clearance was now of crucial importance because of our twenty-year mandate and our budgetary commitments. We could not afford more than three months of clearance and still meet our goals. He thought that the draft memorandum to the clearing officer should stress this and provide them with guidelines as to what they should do and what they need not do. He submitted copies of the draft memorandum on clearance to the Public Affairs Officers and solicited their views on the usefulness of attaching copies to the galleys sent to the reviewing officers.

Mr. Jerabek felt the draft memorandum was unnecessary in his bureau as EUR was reasonably prompt in replying to clearance requests. Mr. Billings supported the emphasis on the three-month limit. Mr. Berdahl stated that the Committee felt the same way. Mr. Sappington pointed out that the galleys for 1943, volumes V and VI, had taken twenty-two months to be cleared. Mr. Greenup, in reviewing the problem of delays in his area, pointed out the shortage of personnel in ARA and the extra heavy burdens placed on the desk officers by the recent crises in the ARA area. He observed that officers usually had to review Foreign Relations galleys on their own time in the evenings and on weekends.

Mr. Franklin noted that we had proceeded to print foreign documents when foreign governments have not responded to our clearance queries. Some were not unhappy to have us print these documents without their formal consent and not a single complaint had materialized when we had gone ahead on our own. He wondered whether the geographic desks would sanction publication without clearance. Mr. Greenup expressed his doubts about such a procedure and stated he recalled instances where Departmental clearance had been of help.

Mr. Ferrell raised the question whether clearance was really needed. Mr. Perkins suggested that responsibility for publishing Foreign Relations should be vested in HO, which should consult with and be advised by the geographic desks.

Mr. Franklin suggested that the Foreign Relations staff might mark those portions of the galleys deserving the special attention of the clearance officers. He felt such markings might accelerate clearance. Mr. Billings suggested that the Public Affairs Officer join HO in marking the galleys. Mr. Greenup and Mr. Jerabek indicated that they already marked galleys before distributing them to their desk officers. Mr. Jerabek agreed with Mr. Billings that closer liaison in marking galleys by HO and the Public Affairs Officers might further facilitate the clearance process. Mr. Gleason expressed some anxiety that the marking of sensitive portions might serve as an invitation to the desk officers to use the ax. Mr. Billings expressed doubt that this would happen.

Mr. Jerabek stated that our compilations dealing with de Gaulle presented a formidable clearance problem and that they would probably have to be resolved at the Assistant Secretary level.

Mr. Schlesinger, who participated in the Committee’s sessions for a brief period, expressed doubt that anything we published would make de Gaulle more anti-Anglo-Saxon than he is. He emphasized that Foreign Relations was a historical record and observed that in clearance the presumption should be in favor of the permanent historical record, rather than transient or speculative risks. (Mr. Schlesinger left the meeting shortly after making these observations.)

Mr. Parks noted that he marked passages for special scrutiny on notes or manuscript of private researchers sent for clearance and that this had facilitated clearance.

Mr. Franklin suggested the addition to the draft memorandum of a statement that clearing officers, in order to save time, need not correct errors in spelling, capitalization, etc., for such errors would be corrected by competent technical editors prior to publication. Mr. Greenup agreed it would be helpful if the draft memorandum would state that clearance officers were not to make such corrections.

Mr. Lisle recommended that clearing officers set down in memorandum form their objections and the reasons therefor rather than indicate their objections by check marks or other marginal notations on the galleys. He stated this procedure would cut down on the number of minutiae. Mr. Franklin strongly supported this position, citing his experience in getting the Cairo-Tehran volume cleared. Mr. Osgood noted that Mr. Lisle’s suggestion would also prevent ambiguity. Mr. Churchill supported Mr. Osgood’s view by giving an account of difficulties he had experienced in interpreting cryptic deletion suggestions made in the margins of some galleys.

Mr. Franklin stated that he would revise the draft memorandum in accordance with these suggestions. Mr. Billings stated that the draft memorandum was a step in the right direction. Mr. Jerabek indicated he had no objection, for EUR practice was to give specific reasons fort deletion requests. Mr. Greenup agreed in principle but feared that the requirement of a written memorandum would unnecessarily increase the paper work of the already hard-pressed ARA staff. He felt that reasons might be set forth as marginal notations. Mr. Billings suggested the draft memorandum be addressed by Mr. Manning to the other Assistant Secretaries so that they might lend the prestige of their position to that of the Public Affairs Officers in pushing for action within three months. Mr. Franklin agreed and stated that copies would be sent to the Assistant Secretaries and would also be attached to the galleys in an appropriate number of copies. Mr. Ferrell decried the bureaucratic toils into which the problem had become enmeshed. He felt that the twenty-some intelligent persons now considering the problem should be able to come up with a prompt decision without referring it elsewhere.

At this point, the Public Affairs Officers departed.

AGENDA ITEM 7: Report on the annual volumes for 1945:

Mr. Perkins spoke of the decision made to compress the number of annual volumes for 1945 to eight after material for about ten volumes had been compiled. He noted that Mr. Gleason had initially made various recommendations to this effect and that he himself had been working assiduously to carry out this program. He was pleased to report that this work was nearing an end and that all 1945 manuscript would be in the hands of PB in November. He noted that the process of cutting the compilations was a slow one and he had been able to do this work only because Mr. Gleason had taken over the editing of the 1946 compilations. He felt that the cutting back had been accomplished within the standards of quality associated with the Foreign Relations series and that the compilations remained comprehensive.

Mr. Perkins then made the observation that in the thirty=three years he had been associated with Foreign Relations, the staff had never been more competent than it was today. He emphasized, however, that the present staff was actually smaller than the staff which compiled Foreign Relations for the 1930’s, despite the tremendous increase in the amount oi the documents to be covered and their vaster complexity.

He expressed great satisfaction that on his approaching retirement, he was leaving the direction of the series in good hands. He noted that the transition would be very smooth since Mr. Gleason had been working on editing and other Foreign Relations tasks for over a year.

Mr. Berdahl and Mr. Leopold both paid tribute to Mr. Perkins’ key role in the development of the Foreign Relations series and stressed particularly Mr. Perkins’ dedication and his concern for orderly transition.

Mr. Franklin suggested that the China volumes had been compiled on a larger scale than the regular volumes and that this would be more marked, beginning with 1945, because of the cutbacks in other areas made under the austerity program. Mr. Perkins asserted there was an impression that everything had been put into the China volumes without selectivity but that this was not true. Large amounts of documentation, he stated, had been deleted during the compiling stage and by Mr. Prescott, Mr. Reid and himself during the review stages. The China volumes did involve a special consideration. The Department in 1949 issued a much criticized White Paper on China and there was a demand for “the complete record.” For this reason, the China volumes contain types of documentation not normally used in regular volumes. For example, Messrs. Davies, Service, and Vincent were lower level officers; yet their reports and memoranda were being included in the China volumes. So much controversy had developed over the activities of these officers that the dropping of their papers in an austerity program might result in charges of omission and whitewash. As a further example, Mr. Perkins cited the Marshall Mission. Very little on the Mission’s activities had been reported to the Department in summary communications. Thus we had used minutes of meetings with Chinese Nationalist and Communist leaders as well as other documentation in the Marshall Mission files to present an adequate record.

Mr. Franklin noted that the scope of the China volumes resembled that of the Yalta volume. He asked Mr. Reid whether he would recommends the cutting of the China volumes in view of the cutting effected by Mr. Perkins on the rest of the 1945 material. Mr. Reid replied that he would not approve this, although he had no objection to the compression that had been made in the other Far East material for 1945.

Mr. Osgood suggested that if the fuller scope of the China volumes had been thought desirable for domestic political reasons, this was no longer pertinent because he felt that the China papers were no longer a serious domestic political problem.

Mr. Perkins noted that the China volumes were not out of proportion, for the 1945 record on China would be contained in one large volume compared to the equivalent of more than three volumes for Europe.

Mr. Berdahl asked whether the Committee approved the standard used in compiling the China volumes. Mr. Leopold and Mr. Osgood agreed that the standards used were acceptable and Mr. Berdahl also added his own approval.

Mr. Franklin pointed out that the use of minutes in the China volumes pointed up a continuing problem for the future. He said we would normally use summary accounts where available but warned that for many conferences they would not be available. Mr. Perkins noted that we had had to print the minutes of meetings of the United States Delegation at San Francisco and of the informal consultative meetings of Foreign Ministers of the sponsoring Governments.

AGENDA ITEM 8: Report on annual volumes for 1946:

Mr. Gleason reported that the process of compilation was not sufficiently advanced to give substantial information to the Committee. He anticipated a maximum of eight volumes. The General volume was lagging the most because Mr. Aandahl had been tied up on the Arcadia Conference and Mr. Goodwin was treading new ground on the complicated subject of the United Nations. Mr. Gleason explained that we would confine ourselves to documenting United States policy vis-a-vis the United Nations, not the activities of the United Nations in general, in order to keep within reasonable bounds. Furthermore, we would concentrate on the political and security aspects. The United Nations work would fall into two natural fields, the pure UN subjects, such as the veto and membership, and those which bore on bilateral subjects such as Iran. The former would be compiled by the General Branch; the latter by geographic area personnel who would coordinate with Mr. Goodwin to ensure that no subject of importance fell between two stools. He expected that the UN specialized agencies would not pass unnoticed but did not anticipate full coverage of their activities. Mr. Berdahl and Mr. Bishop expressed some uneasiness as to how subjects like UNESCO, civil aviation, and the ILO would be treated. Mr. Goodwin explained that the Minutes of the United States Delegation to the United Nations would serve as the core of the purely UN stories. These would cast a very wide net which would touch on almost all UN topics.

Mr. Franklin pointed out that Mr. Goodwin had been taken from the Near East area and had spent a whole year in breaking through the bulk and mysteries of the UN documentation. This revealed sharply our need for additional personnel to maintain the twenty-year line.

Mr. Gleason then reviewed the remaining areas of the 1946 work. Western Europe and the British Commonwealth were well in hand; the American Republics area was well along and would likely be of smaller bulk than for 1945; the Far East was furthest advanced - 500 pages of this material would be ready for obligation of funds by May 1964; the Near East was much less advanced, and Mr. Fine had not found it easy to hold down the number of pages devoted to Iran, in view of the critical UN ramifications; and Eastern Europe had a substantial amount done.

Mr. Gleason emphasized that attempts to reduce the size of the compilations was most difficult. Some stories traditional to Foreign Relations were being curtailed or abolished and he felt that this might produce cries of anguish in some quarters.

Mr. Berdahl, on behalf of the Committee, welcomed Mr. Gleason as successor to Mr. Perkins.

Mr. Franklin mentioned that HO had so far been unsuccessful in obtaining specifically sought documents in the Truman papers. This was already hurting our 1945 compilations and would be even more of a problem for the 1946 compilations, unless Mr. Truman would relent.

The Committee adjourned at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday Session, November 2, 1963, 9:10 a.m.


  • The Advisory Committee:
    • Clarence A. Berdahl, Chairman
    • William W. Bishop, Jr.
    • Robert H. Ferrell
    • Richard W. Leopold
    • Robert E. Osgood
    • Robert R. Wilson
  • The Historical Office:
    • William M. Franklin
    • Richardson Dougall
    • E. R. Perkins
    • S. Everett Gleason
    • Rogers P. Churchill
    • Fredrick Aandahl

The meeting opened with a discussion of the problem of the clearing and downgrading of documents for publication. Mr. Franklin explained that the Government Printing Office (GPO) imposes a surcharge of 20 percent on composition costs for Confidential material and 30 percent for Secret and Top Secret material. Beginning with 1944, when the present system of security classifications went into effect, a large proportion of the documents important enough for selection for Foreign Relations bore (and normally still bear) classifications of Confidential or higher, and under the regulations the entire body of documents in a given collection must carry the classification of the highest single item. This means that we would have to circulate Top Secret galleys to the geographic bureaus for clearance, and this would have a “murderous” effect, inducing hyper-caution at every turn, and the budget people shrieked at the cost of the surcharges. To obviate this difficulty the Division of Publishing Services (PB) had suggested clearing individual documents in photocopy before the manuscript was sent to the GPO, but the Historical Office (P/HO) had pointed out that the projected savings in cost were illusory, for many copies would have to be made of documents affecting more than one bureau or one country desk, and great unwieldy stacks of photocopies would have to be circulated, to the consternation of the clearing officers, who find neatly-printed galley proof bad enough.

As an alternative, P/HO has negotiated a special agreement with the Office of Security (SY) to handle Foreign Relations manuscript and galley proof as Confidential, without the need to go through the laborious task of downgrading each document separately. When the geographic bureaus and other appropriate offices in the Department grant their necessary concurrence in the publication of a given volume, this action constitutes in effect declassification of the papers involved. In addition, P/HO has sought authorization to have the printing done on an unclassified basis, in a limited number of copies that could be stamped Limited Official Use or Special Handling, but efforts in this direction have not as yet succeeded.

The Department of Defense (DOD) has been a complicating factor in this process. Until last week the arrangement was that P/HO should send to DOD three copies of each Top Secret or Secret paper of Defense origin for downgrading to Confidential, but now Mr. Winnacker has informed us that DOD will not object to our including their documents through December 1945 in Confidential galley regardless of original classification. This arrangement is contingent upon British concurrence in the case of combined US-UK papers. It is hoped that similar arrangements can be worked out for 1946 and after.

These considerations also affect the question of access to Department of State files by unofficial researchers. The physical task of individually changing the classifications of hundreds of thousands of old papers would be enormous. The historians have been concerned about this problem for several years, and at last they seem to be able to impress the security authorities that some far-reaching solution will be necessary. Practical discussions are now taking place, but there is no indication of an early decision. The Archivist of the United States now has authority to declassify any paper which has been entrusted to his care on an “open” basis, e.g., subject to no limitations by the department or agency which originated the paper. As announced at yesterday’s meeting, the Department has just issued a new regulation directly tying the open and restricted periods for access to the completion of the Foreign Relations volumes for a given year. The restricted period runs from 1933 through 1942, and the closed period is from then until the present.

The next item on the agenda was discussion of the volumes on the wartime conferences. Those covering the Cairo-Tehran, Malta and Yalta, and Potsdam meetings have already been published, and Mr. Franklin reported that the first of the two remaining volumes was well advanced but that the last one had been set aside for the time being because of other more pressing assignments. The 800 manuscript pages on the Arcadia conference of December 1941-January 1942 (prepared by Messrs. Franklin and Aandahl) have been sent to PB, and the rest of the manuscript for this volume (Second Washington, Casablanca, and Trident conferences, all prepared by Mr. Slany) will soon be sent; initial printing costs for this volume should be obligated within the next few weeks. The other volume, on the Quebec conferences of 1943 and 1944, is at a standstill because Mr, Glennon is working on 1946 material and Mr. Kogan has been given a long-term assignment for the Berlin Task Force.

Mr. Leopold said that he would like to ask about the relation of the Foreign Relations series to the other work of the Historical Office. Was there anything else the Committee should take note of, as for example the American Foreign Policy: Current Documents series, which is also a historical publication of the Department? What would be a practical goal for the issuance of these volumes? Mr. Franklin replied that the one for 1960 would soon be released, but that the ideal would be to publish the volume for each year in October of the following year. He invited the views of the Committee as to the usefulness of this series. Mr. Berdahl said that it was “very useful indeed”, that it was a series his university library could afford to buy and to keep up, and that the advanced students were enthusiastic about it. Libraries could afford to get several copies to meet the needs of students and professors. Mr. Leopold asked if any doubts had been expressed of the usefulness of the series, and Mr. Franklin said that he himself had had some doubts at first but had later become convinced of the value of Current Documents, which contained the heart of public information on foreign affairs for each year in a single volume. Its preparation required two man-years per volume, but it served to take a considerable burden from Foreign Relations, which need not reprint the important material already put in permanent form. Mr. Dougall pointed out that texts in Current Documents were more authoritative than those in the Department of State Bulletin, which was prepared against tight deadlines that did not allow for the same kind of thorough editing, and Mr. Perkins said that he had always preferred to cite the Statutes at Large or the Treaty Series rather than the Bulletin. Mr. Leopold asked if the public was properly informed that the Current Documents series was available, and whether any figures were available as to the distribution. Mr. Franklin explained that it was sent to depository libraries, and that 500 copies of 1956 and 400 of 1957 had been sold, in addition to the many copies used within the Government. There was a short discussion as to whether there should be a separate volume for each year, or whether the earlier pattern of covering 1941-1949 in a single volume and 1950-1955 in two volumes was more helpful. Mr. Franklin noted that the 1941-1949 issue contained only the “cream”, and Mr. Leopold said he found the organizational arrangement and the sweep of the 1950-1955 compilation made it handier in many cases than having to check a number of annual volumes.

Mr. Franklin said that because of the unwieldy size of some of the volumes he had asked the staff to reduce the bulk to more convenient size, and an effort had been made to combine 1960 and 1961 in one volumes, but this had proved to be unworkable. He asked for an expression of the Committee’s view as to the proper size and scope of the volumes. Mr. Osgood expressed a preference for a single volume for each year, and he would be glad to have it as inclusive as possible. Other members of the Committee indicated that they were undecided on this question. Mr. Bishop asked from what sources the material was gathered, and Mr. Franklin explained that most of it came from the Department of State Bulletin, with the rest from Congressional publications, previously unpublished press releases, and various standard sources, plus some ephemeral materials otherwise hard to come by.

Mr. Leopold asked if copies of Current Documents were sent to newspapers for reference purposes, as distinct from review, and Mr. Franklin said that we were required by law to sell these materials rather than give them away (except for review copies). He said that there was not now a large free list.

In connection with the advantage of having Current Documents as a standard source to be cited in Foreign Relations and thereby save space, Mr. Gleason commented that the latter series could also benefit from the various other publications prepared by the Historical Studies Division, such as those on disarmament, the Suez crisis, Germany, and others, even though some them might not be available in permanent form. The question of reprinting some of this material has come up in connection with the 1946 compilation on Germany.

Mr. Leopold then asked about the allocation of manpower within the Historical Office. What drains were there upon the staff of Foreign Relations besides those already mentioned? Mr. Franklin described the work of the other two divisions, which occasionally call on the services of the Foreign Relations staff. Mr. Dougall’s Historical Studies Division (divided into two branches headed by Messrs. Costrell and Patterson) includes a dozen historians and prepares narrative and documentary studies on a wide variety of subjects, many of them highly classified and dealing with current matters. Mr. Parks’ Research Guidance and Review Division deals with questions of access by unofficial researchers to Department of State records and also includes the Current Documents series, edited by Mr. Curl. In the same Division Mrs. Martin does the initial review of unofficial publications by members of the Department of State. It was pointed out that the Foreign Relations Division had been given a lift by having the wartime conferences done by historians outside of the Foreign Relations Division.

Mr. Gleason called attention to the great benefit which the Historical Office derived from its research and reference services to the Department as a whole. In addition to serving the needs of the scholarly world it had to carry its weight in the Department. There is an endless series of inquiries on historical and quasi-historical questions, including many from students. The members of the Committee indicated that as professors they did not approve of students asking Government offices to do their research for them. Mr. Dougall explained some of the procedures (form letters, bibliographies, etc.) used for answering routine inquiries.

Mr. Berdahl then asked if there was a consensus with regard to the Current Documents series. The members of the Committee said that they had used the volumes themselves and had assigned them to their students. Mr. Leopold expressed the view that the series was valuable and should become more widely used as it became better known; perhaps some form of advertising was needed. All agreed that the series should be continued, but they did not express a definite view as to whether there should be a separate volume for each year. Mr. Leopold said he preferred a single one for each year, and Mr. Osgood repeated that he would like to see it as large as possible. Mr. Franklin said that there was no saving in time and manpower through combining two years in one, but that there was a saving in printing and binding costs.

A discussion then ensued as to the comparative merits of Current Documents and the annual volumes of the Council on Foreign Relations. Mr. Franklin stated that our volumes were larger, more systematic, and more comprehensive, but that the C.F.R. volumes had more material of foreign origin. Mr. Leopold said that he had used both and preferred the Current Documents, and besides it was a better buy. Messrs. Wilson, Bishop, Berdahl, and Ferrell mentioned various possibilities for gaining wider public knowledge of the series, such as by notices in learned journals, and in getting reviews elsewhere, which could promote far more acquaintance and sales. Mr. Gleason remarked that some of the notices which have appeared are inferior. It was likewise agreed that even the annual reports of the Committee were not too well printed in the journals, when printed at all.

Mr. Leopold asked if there should be both a public and a confidential report by the Committee this year. Because not much classified material has been used in the present meetings, Mr. Franklin thought that no confidential report would be needed.

At this point the members of the Historical Office withdrew, and the Committee went into private session to consider the drafting of its report.


At about 10:45 a.m. the entire group (except Mr. Dougall) reassembled. It was requested that copies of the 1946 plan of priorities be made available to the new members of the Committee, and also that the minutes of the present meeting be promptly circulated, especially a copy to Mr. Berdahl for use in drafting the report.

For the benefit of the newly-rejoined participants, Mr. Berdahl summed up the main points to be covered in the report. It would be along familiar lines, covering the same old topics with some different emphasis, but would probably contain some reference to the very sympathetic attitude expressed at the luncheon with Under Secretary Ball on Friday. The report should say something about the magnitude of the task, which seems virtually impossible. Mr. Franklin interjected that we couldn’t say it was impossible until we had given the new procedures a year’s trial; we had to be in a position to say we had tried everything within our power before we went back for more help. Mr. Perkins remarked that the shortage of skilled editors and indexers in PB might be the most troublesome problem. Cutting corners would help some, but the saving was mostly in the time of the less-skilled personnel in PB, which had lost several highly trained people in the reduction in force two years ago.

Mr. Leopold wondered if we could afford to wait a year if in fact P/HO and PB can’t carry the load with present resources, and Mr. Berdahl asked if it would not be more realistic for the Committee to recommend and press for more staff now. Mr. Franklin replied that he was very conservative in what he asked for. Mr. Osgood inquired whether it was good tactics for the Committee to ask for more than P/HO could actually get. Mr. Franklin said that we need half a dozen more historians but that this is “practically hopeless” to ask for.

Mr. Bishop wanted to know if it would hurt P/HO’s chances if the Committee asked for too many. Mr. Franklin said that one would have to consider whether the Department would think the Committee was entirely unrealistic and had its feet off the ground. Would this reduce the impact of the Committee? Just now there was a freeze, so that there would be a grim fight just for one GS-7 job. The alternative to these small requests would be a major appeal to the Secretary.

Mr. Gleason thought it would be eminently desirable to state the ideal. Mr. Leopold said that it was understood that a freeze was now in effect, but the Committee could express the obvious need. Others agreed, both for the present and the future. Mr. Wilson thought there should be some indication that the Committee was cognizant of the budgetary problem but still thought that the staff should be increased. Mr. Osgood thought that the Committee would lose part of its value if it allowed itself to be put in Mr. Franklin’s shoes, and that it must really represent the outside point of view, as it had been invited to do in the first place. The thought was expressed that the Committee should bay at the moon but keep its feet on the ground. There was always a certain unpredictability about the budget.

Mr. Berdahl then asked if there had been any follow-up to Mr. Rusk’s idea last year of appointing interns. Mr. Franklin said that he had several telephone talks with people in Personnel and at the Civil Service Commission but that no one had any good answers. We would be glad to have qualified interns (probably Ph.D. candidates), but the problem of security clearance is very difficult. Graduate students can’t usually afford to wait the many months required for clearance. Summer interns aren’t here long enough. Mr. Wilson then asked if P/HO could pay enough in competition with colleges today. Mr. Franklin continued that the salary scale is probably attractive enough at present (new Ph.D.’s may be appointed at grade GS-11, for which the beginning salary will be $8410 after January, and graduate students could be appointed at GS-7 or GS-9 at $5795 or $7030. Mr. Perkins said that there had once been a dollar-a-year man on the staff, Jack Foley, who had a Yale fellowship to study in Germany in 1939 or 1940. Mr. Franklin said we would be glad to look into the possibilities for foundation support, but that the amounts involved were too great for a continuing program.

A further complication is the absence of a Historian register at the Civil Service Commission. The old one was not particularly useful, but it did mean that members of the staff could in due course attain Civil Service status instead of being covered by social security. One could not attract good historians by offering only social security retirement terms. The matter is still under consideration, and Mr. Franklin may ask for the Committee’s views at some later stage.

Mr. Berdahl said that the Committee’s report would refer to clearance problems and the new editorial procedures and would commend Mr. Manning’s memorandum to the other assistant secretaries as well as the budgetary and administrative officers for supporting the request for additional printing and binding money. Mr. Franklin noted that it was easier to get program money than new positions, and that in fact it might not be possible to fill the job number to be vacated on Mr. Perkins’ retirement. In recent years the Foreign Relations professional staff has decreased from 16 in 1947 to 12 now even while the workload has increased. In addition, we have always had about 2 vacancies.

Mr. Berdahl raised the question of a cumulative index for the series. The last one goes only to 1918 and does not include the war supplements. There was general agreement that the budgetary situation offered no immediate prospect for a general index.

Messrs. Wilson and Berdahl expressed their appreciation for the Department’s cooperation in the work of the Committee. Mr. Leopold suggested that there was room for an alumni association, and Mr. Franklin welcomed the idea. Mr. Leopold thought that the great investment in time and specialized knowledge should not go to waste.

The meeting adjourned shortly after 12 noon.

  1. These new members of the Committee were sworn in by William J. Tonesk, Deputy Chief of Protocol, in ceremonies in the West Diplomatic Reception Room, at 9:15 a.m. (AGENDA ITEM l)